by, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweetShareShareEmail0 Shares Kavan Peterson, EditorYesterday I had a conversation with a contact from a Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) in my home state of Montana who was seeking advice on how to drive dramatic changes in dementia care practices in the state’s nursing homes. (QIO’s are independent state organizations chartered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to advocate for high quality health care by providers receiving federal funding.)She had seen Alive Inside and heard about my connection to the film (my mother runs one of the larger nursing homes in the state and has helped boost the film). Like so many other culture change advocates she saw this film as a clarion call for action.She called asking for advice about how best to leverage the film to get nursing homes to adopt new practices of dementia care that will help dramatically reduce the use of anti-psychotic prescriptions to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia statewide.Alive Inside has made it powerfully clear that the least — THE LEAST — providers can do is adopt the Music and Memory program and provide personalized music to those they serve. I don’t see how you can watch that film and not conclude that it is a criminal civil rights abuse to deny people living with dementia access to music.But music is just the beginning, the most basic, no-brainer approach. Beyond music there is an entire world of creative, arts-based and experiential models of dementia care and culture change that have potential to radically improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia, in nursing homes or any other environments.I shared a few ideas with my new friend and she promised to send me some new programs and ideas she had been investigating. Below are my top three suggestions and I would LOVE to hear other suggestions from readers:1) Connect with The Eden Alternative and begin trainings in Dr. Al Power’s Dementia Beyond Drugs. The QIO can’t do that alone, but I recommended she look into the CMP-funded statewide trainings The Eden Alternative recently provided in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.2) There is no substitute for the organization-wide culture change outlined by Eden’s and Dr. Power’s approach, but there are some amazing programs that providers can easily implement with life-changing results. One of my favorites is Anne Basting’s Timeslips. It’s a simple story-telling activity that provides a radical paradigm shift for participants away from a focus on memory and towards a focus on imagination. Coincidentally, Anne is in the final days of a major IndieGogo fundraiser to expand Timeslips and I urge all of our readers to visit her fundraiser page and chip in.3) Third, I suggested getting the community involved by visiting the I’m Still Here Foundation to learn about dozens of other innovative, community and arts-based movements nationwide providing non-pharmalogical approaches to living with dementia (including programs like this here in Seattle).That’s just the tip of the iceberg. What other programs would you suggest?Related PostsPutting the ‘Home’ in Nursing Homes: A Conversation with Barbara FrankThis Conversation is with Barbara Frank, M.P.A., the co-founder, with Cathie Brady, of B&F Consulting, whose mission is to help nursing homes to be better places to live and work. They often serve as faculty for learning collaboratives to improve staff stability, care outcomes, quality of life and overall organizational…Advances in Person-Centered Dementia CareIn 2001, the Institute on Medicine released a seminal report titled “Crossing the Quality Chasm” that described healthcare in America as impersonal and fragmented.LeadingAge: Enough is EnoughBy: Larry Minnix LeadingAge President and CEO What will it take for the nursing home to gain the respect it now deserves? The nursing home continues to be treated like the illegitimate child in the health care family. Yet, it is an essential part of every community. Just ask…TweetShareShareEmail0 SharesTags: alive inside Innovation Momentia TimeSlips
By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDAug 2 2018The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned the general population against reusing condoms after washing. Their tweet comes after a spark of fear of antibiotic resistant sexually transmitted infections.The experts say that condoms are meant to be used as barrier contraceptives and also protect both sexual partners against sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia etc. Reusing condoms after one use by washing them renders them ineffective the experts say.The CDC tweeted in July, “We say it because people do it: Don’t wash or reuse #condoms! Use a fresh one for each #sex act”. Dr. Elizabeth Torrone, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention explained that reusing condoms is a form of its incorrect use and reusing these reduces their protective effects by causing them to slip, break or leak. Image Credit: Lemon Tree Images / Shutterstock Related StoriesNew research examines whether effects of alcohol/pregnancy policies vary by raceCannabis use during pregnancy may cause premature birthMultifaceted intervention for acute respiratory infection improves antibiotic-prescribingCondoms are meant to protect against unwanted pregnancy and STIs and breakage or leakage of condoms cannot protect an individual from any of these she said. Reusing a condom after a wash would also mean putting it on unrolled and wet. This would be anyway be quite a difficult task say experts and is most likely to lead to breakage. The washed condom with its weakened latex may be more likely to tear say experts.Another reason why used condoms need to be thrown away include emergence and rise of super gonorrhoea infections or gonorrheal infections that are resistant to the commonly used antibiotics. These strains can cause severe illnesses that are difficult to treat and may become potentially lethal.According to the CDC statistics from 2017 only around one third of Americans use condoms and even fewer use them correctly. An older study from 2012 in the journal Sexual Health found that 1.4 to 3.3 percent of the participants in the study were reusing a condom at least twice during a sexual encounter.The study from University of Kentucky was a general estimation of the situation among the general population. The CDC data show that there are over two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis recorded in 2016 and this makes right condom use even more imperative.Apart from using condoms for one time sexual encounter, the experts also recommend not storing condoms in wallets and be aware of their expiration dates. Further not more than one condom must be used at a time.
Aug 27 2018By Dr Ananya Mandal, MDA new report has come up with alarming numbers of deaths due to drug overdose among Australians. The report states that common sedatives and sleeping pills may be responsible for over 142 deaths each month due to their overdose.Australia’s Annual Overdose report 2018 comes from the Penington Institute which states that over the last decade up to 2016, there have been 13,471 deaths due to unintentional drug overdose and these numbers have doubled with time. The drug overdose deaths have even exceeded deaths on the road, states the report. The Penington Institute started in 2014, is a not-for-profit, Melbourne-based drug and alcohol organisation.According to the researchers, the leading killer among drugs is legal pharmaceutical pain relievers. In most individuals a cocktail of substances are found in the blood stream when they overdose. Alcohol in combination with pain relievers and sleeping or anxiety relieving pills such as benzodiazepines is one of the most common combinations found in the cases of overdose deaths. Other combinations include alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis, heroin etc.Penington Institute’s chief executive John Ryan explained that drug overdose deaths are seen even among those who do not have a “drug problem”. He added that similar to opioid painkillers and alcohol, benzodiazepines such as diazepam and temazepam can depress the respiratory system. When combined, all three works to slow down breathing till the brain is deprived of enough oxygen. According to Ryan, that is the commonest reason behind the deaths due to overdoses.Related StoriesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useNew research examines whether effects of alcohol/pregnancy policies vary by racePeople use executive control processes to ignore cues that signal something rewardingThe report goes on to add that the middle-aged Australians between ages 40 and 49 years are most likely to be affected. Those living in regional areas are also more at risk. At present men are more commonly dying of drug overdose but women are catching up rapidly finds the report. Wollongong was identified as the region where most cases of drug overdoses took place.The report showed that between 2002 and 2006 there were 554 deaths due to heroin overdose. This number jumped to 1,183 between 2012 and 2016, the report states. Amphetamine deaths too have risen from 298 to 1,237, says the report. Opioids such as fentanyl, pethidine and tramadol, have killed 55 individuals in the earlier period and 746 in the more recent times.According to Ryan, Australia was going the same path as United States where number of people dying of opioid overdose is huge. As a remedial measure he suggested more stringent control regarding access to drugs especially in the regional areas. He explained that in most regional areas, it may be difficult to find General Practitioners and pharmacists may be dispensing opioid substitution treatments. He said in a statement that at present not all families in Australia are affected with a drug overdose, but unless this trend is stopped, that might be a reality soon. He said, “As we approach International Overdose Awareness Day we encourage people to start having open and honest conversations about their drug use with their healthcare provider.” Source:http://www.penington.org.au/australias-annual-overdose-report-2018/
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 29 2018Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine have discovered that cell metabolism plays an important role in the ability of cells to start a survival program called autophagy, an unwanted side effect of some anti-cancer drugs that helps some tumor cells dodge treatment and eventually regrow into new tumors.These findings, reported in the Aug. 28 online edition of the journal Cell Reports, provide new insights for ways to use cell metabolism to “pull the plug” on tumor cells that survive treatment, possibly leading to better treatments and outcomes for patients.”Cells adapt to nutrient starvation by increasing autophagy, where a cell basically eats itself and recycles cellular contents to support essential processes until nutrients become plentiful once again. This process is regulated by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and AMP-activated protein kinases (AMPK),” says Carol Mercer, PhD, research assistant professor in the Division of Hematology Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, and a member of both the Cincinnati Cancer Center and UC Cancer Institute. “Drugs that target mTOR or activate AMPK are being used in the clinic for some cancers, and are under active investigation for others, making it important to understand how they affect this tumor cell survival pathway.””We found that cell metabolism significantly influences the ability to begin autophagy, with mitochondrial complex I function being an important factor in the initiation, amplification and duration of the response,” she continues. “We show that the anti-diabetic drug phenformin, the anti-diabetic drug metformin, and genetic defects in complex I shift cell metabolism toward glycolysis and inhibit the ability of mTOR inhibitors to prompt autophagy. The opposite is also true, as a shift away from glycolysis and toward mitochondrial metabolism, enhances autophagy through a mechanism that involves increased phospholipid metabolism. Our data demonstrate the importance of metabolism in the regulation of autophagy, increase our understanding of clinically relevant drugs that are important for cancer, and suggest new strategies to increase or inhibit autophagy.”Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskMercer, principal investigator on the study, and her lab, worked primarily in cultured cells to understand how metabolism regulates autophagy, identifying strategies to manipulate this pathway to the patients’ advantage. This work was built on pre-clinical studies in animal models by Hala Elnakat Thomas, PhD, first author and research instructor in the department, who found that the combination of mTOR inhibitors were effective in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) but had the potential disadvantage of increasing autophagy.”Our data reveal the dynamic and metabolic regulation of autophagy and suggest new therapeutic strategies for cancer, neurodegenerative and mitochondrial diseases,” Mercer says. “We need to further explore the reasons this occurs and the implications for how the metabolic regulation of autophagy can be used in the clinic.” Source:https://www.healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/30214/
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Sep 17 2018Soot and dust alters thyroid development in fetuses before they are born in smoggy cities, raising concern about health impacts later in life, new USC research shows.It means before a doctor cuts the umbilical cord or a parent hugs a baby or a sibling gazes at the newest member of the family, the caress of air pollution already reached the womb’s inner sanctum. The timing couldn’t be worse, as the researchers found that no matter when they checked, thyroid impacts were evident until the final month of gestation.This is one of the few studies to monitor air pollution effects on a developing fetus and the first to track pollution changes month by month on thyroid hormones. The newly published research paper appears in JAMA Network Open.”Air pollution is bad for adults and children and this study shows it may be bad for the fetus too, despite being protected in the womb,” said Carrie V. Breton, corresponding author of the study and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Thyroid function is important for lots of elements of life and tweaking that in utero may have lifelong consequences.”USC scientists have been studying the health impacts of urban air pollution for a generation under the Children’s Health Study. It’s one of the world’s largest ongoing research efforts looking exclusively at how dirty air harms kids. USC is situated in the Los Angeles region, home to historically severe urban smog, an ideal laboratory to study air pollution health effects and environmental change across time.Since the effort began in 1992, various USC researchers have documented how air pollution contributes to school absences, asthma, bronchitis and lost-lung function. Conversely, as air quality has improved due to regulations and technology innovations, scientists have been able to track improvements in children’s health.In the new study, the research team focused on 2,050 newborns, people who had been enrolled in the Children’s Health Study previously. They selected them using birth data from the mid-1990s, when they were elementary school students at 13 Southern California schools. About 60 percent were white, 30 percent Latino and the remainder black or other races.The participants were included only if they had blood tests taken right after birth and had complete monthly exposure measures for air pollution throughout pregnancy. The scientists checked blood levels for total thyroxine (TT4), a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland.Related StoriesResearch finds link between air pollution and coronary heart disease in ChinaMany thyroid cancer patients have no choice about radioactive iodine, study revealsTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTThe researchers found that when exposure to PM2.5 increased by 16 micrograms per cubic meter of air (roughly the volume of a dishwasher), TT4 levels in blood increased 7.5 percent above average levels in babies. When exposure to PM10 increased by 22 micrograms per cubic meter, TT4 levels increased by 9.3 percent, according to the study. They did not see the same increases associated with other air pollutants, such as ozone or nitrogen dioxide.Moreover, exposures during months three to seven of pregnancy were most significant for PM2.5, which are typically sooty particles 20 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. PM10 exposure during one to eight months of pregnancy was associated with significantly higher newborn TT4 concentrations. PM10 are airborne particles, 10 microns in diameter, which often comes from dirt dust and pulverized road grit.The findings show that the fetal thyroid gland seems particularly susceptible to airborne particulate, especially during early- to mid-pregnancy, according to the study. It’s consistent with previous studies by other researchers that show industrial chemicals, tobacco smoke and indoor air pollution impact the thyroid gland.However, the study did not assess the health effects of the air pollution exposures. Thyroid hormones are critical for regulating fetal growth and metabolism and play important roles in neurodevelopment. Even subtle changes in maternal thyroid function during pregnancy have been associated with reduced fetal growth and cognitive deficits in children, with detrimental effects observed for both low- and high-levels of thyroid hormones, the study found. Also, the study only looked at one hormonal pathway associated with the thyroid gland, which the authors acknowledge is a limitation.Nonetheless, the findings underscore that air pollution penetrates deeply within the human body to reach the most vulnerable people of all — unborn babies. Breton said it’s a wakeup call not only for smoggy places like California and the United States, but rapidly industrializing cities around the world.”There are several places around the world where air pollution is skyrocketing,” Breton said. “This is another example of an environmental exposure that affects early development in subtle ways, and we don’t know the health consequences.” Source:https://www.usc.edu/
In the early 14th century, a nun named Joan of Leeds faked her own death to escape the house of St. Clement by York. She enjoyed an entirely different kind of life after slipping away from the convent. Scholars in the United Kingdom recently translated a letter that the Archbishop of York wrote about the nun’s scheme, which used a “dummy” and a bogus burial. “Her story has been unearthed by researchers at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, which are part of a £1 million project to put the 14th century registers of the Archbishops of York online,” according to Church Times.After her “burial,” Joan was evidently revealed to still be very much alive in the secular world, to the horror of church leaders.Joan of Leeds, a nun of St Clement’s Priory in York, ordered to return to that house, having left the convent by pretending to be dead and a model of herself buried in her place.“She now wanders at large to the notorious peril to her soul and to the scandal of all of her order,” the highly disapproving Archbishop of York William Melton wrote about Joan in a record book dated 1318.The Archbishop continued: “Having faked her death and, in a cunning, nefarious manner, turning her back on the observance of religion that she previously professed, and having turned her back on decency and the good of religion, seduced by indecency, she involved herself irreverently and perverted her path of life arrogantly to the way of carnal lust and away from poverty and obedience.”University of York historian Sarah Rees Jones, who is leading the digitizing project, told HuffPost that her team isn’t sure if Joan ever returned to the convent ― either willingly or because she was forced.Specific mention of ‘Johannes de Ledes’ from Melton’s Register.Presumably fed up with her life as a nun, Joan faked “a bodily illness” and “pretended to be dead.” With the help of some accomplices in the convent, she successfully tricked the heads of her Benedictine convent into thinking she was dead. A lookalike dummy was buried “in a sacred space” among actual dead members of her order.The letter doesn’t describe what Joan’s dummy looked like or was made of. Sarah Rees Jones has a theory that she may have filled a shroud with dirt or sand and arranged for its burial.Rome, Italy – May 1, 2009: A group of nuns in traditional habits walking in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood.Rees Jones told the Church Times: “There are several cases of ‘runaway’ monks and nuns from various religious houses in the registers. But we don’t always get as much detail as this, and we don’t always have the full story. Women often entered convents in adolescence, and such changes of heart about their vocation were not uncommon.”While the archbishop said that her goal was a life of “carnal lust,” Joan’s motives are not known for sure.“This may mean no more (in modern terms) than enjoying the material pleasures of living in the secular world (abandoning her vow of poverty), or it may mean entering into a sexual relationship (abandoning her vow of chastity),” said Rees Jones to Live Science. “We do know that other religious [people] abandoned their vocations either to marry or to take up an inheritance of some kind.”Scribe writing old documentCases of runaway nuns were not unknown in the medieval era. Some of them entered convent life in their early teens. History.com reveals that many women had trouble finding decent work to support themselves and faced difficulty finding a husband if their family couldn’t provide a good dowry.Rees Jones went to say that survival in those days could be hard and one great benefit of living in a religious structure was that you always had bed and board..Read another story from us: The World’s Oldest Nun who Defied the Nazis and Sheltered Jews“From archaeology, we can tell that people living in religious houses, even quite small ones like the one that Joan of Leeds lived in, had probably on average a better standard of life than the ordinary run-of-the-mill people outside of the religious life,” she said. The high rate at which women died in childbirth was also a factor in why nuns might typically live a little longer than the average woman.
By Reuters |Sydney | Published: June 30, 2019 8:15:44 am Related News Post Comment(s) “I will just be measured in what I say because that is all about using the best opportunities we have right now to, to inform ourselves about where Alek is and what his safety is and where he is being held, in what conditions,” he told reporters on Saturday evening.Morrison said numerous world leaders had offered help to find Sigley and bring him home.When asked if U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) presented an opportunity for the Americans to make representations, Mr Morrison said he would not allow the issue to be taken up with other agendas.“We’re going to work with everybody to secure Alek’s safety and the best way we can do that is doing it quietly, effectively, working with our partners,” he said. Australian government close to securing enough votes for $110 billion tax cut plan Scott Morrison sworn in as Australia’s prime minister Advertising Advertising The treatment of foreign citizens by the secretive North has long been a contentious issue.American student Otto Warmbier died in 2017 after being detained in North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel room. Australia’s election surprise sends shares to 11-year peak Morrison said the plight of Alek Sigley (above) had been raised with him by world leaders attending the Group of 20 summit in Osaka including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (AP)The Facebook page of an Australian man missing in North Korea reappeared then disappeared again on Saturday hours before Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia is still trying to find out what has happened to him. More Explained Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach It had disappeared again on Saturday by 2 p.m. Sydney time (0400 GMT) and remained down on Sunday morning.Sigley’s Twitter account has remained online and members of the public have posted messages of support there.The missing man’s last posts on his Twitter and Facebook profiles are from Monday, June 24, and his family has not heard from him since Tuesday.Speaking from the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Prime Minister Morrison said he had spoken to Sigley’s family and said Australia was still trying to find out what happened to him. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Best Of Express Taking stock of monsoon rain Advertising Alek Sigley, one of only a handful of Western students in the secretive country, has been missing for several days.His family had taken down his social media accounts to prevent unnecessary speculation online.Sigley’s Facebook page reappeared overnight, but it is not known who reinstated it, or why. “This is, not allowing this to be taken up into other agendas, it’s not about that, it’s simply for me, about Alek’s safety. Sorry.”The 29-year-old Australian moved to North Korea to study for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang, and also ran a small tour company specialising in educational trips to North Korea.Sigley has been an unusually active social media user for someone living in North Korea, updating his social media accounts with photos and blog posts about benign subjects such as food and fashion.
Source:https://www.ualberta.ca/science/science-news/2018/december/testing-for-alzheimers-disease Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 13 2018University of Alberta scientists have identified three biomarkers for detecting mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in saliva samples. The research has promising results for application in a clinical setting.The research team combines expertise in metabolomics from Liang Li, professor in the Department of Chemistry, and neurodegenerative disorders from Roger Dixon, professor in the Department of Psychology. “All projections point to an impending and staggering global impact of neurodegenerative disease and dementia,” said Dixon of the critical importance of this research.Related StoriesStudy highlights the need for larger Alzheimer’s drug trials that intervene much earlierSleep decline in one’s 50s, 60s increases risk of Alzheimer’s diseaseHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionLi and Dixon examined saliva samples from three sets of patients, those with Alzheimer’s disease, those with mild cognitive impairment, and those with normal cognition. Using a powerful mass spectrometer, the pair examined more than 6,000 metabolites–compounds that are part of our body’s metabolic processes–to identify any changes or signatures between groups.”In this analysis, we found three metabolites that can be used to differentiate between these three groups,” said Li. “This is preliminary work, because we’ve used a very small sample size. But the results are very promising. If we can use a larger set of samples, we can validate our findings and develop a saliva test of Alzheimer’s disease.”A saliva test would prove useful in clinical settings for its ease and non-invasive nature. It also has the potential to detect neurodegenerative diseases earlier on, allowing for early intervention.”So far, no disease-altering interventions for Alzheimer’s disease have been successful,” explained Dixon. “For this reason, researchers are aiming to discover the earliest signals of the disease so that prevention protocols can be implemented.”Another added benefit of identifying these biomarkers is the ability to conduct efficacy testing for treatments. “Using the biomarkers, we can also do testing to see what types of treatments are most effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease–from diet to physical activity to pharmaceuticals,” added Li.
Source:http://cincytechusa.com/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 18 2018Eccrine Systems, Inc., an advanced sweat sensor company, today announced that a key patent, US10136831, has been issued to Dr. Jason Heikenfeld, Co-Founder & CSO, and prominent University of Cincinnati researcher. The company holds exclusive rights to the UC patent.The patented invention covers the use of on-body sweat devices that are capable of electronically correlating two or more measurements of an analyte with the time at which the analyte emerged in newly excreted sweat. Without the use of the invention it is likely not possible to correlate sweat analyte data trends with chronological blood values or similar physiological measurements. Heikenfeld developed his invention over four years ago at a time when continuous on-body measurement of sweat analytes was at its inception. Heikenfeld is a well-known scientific leader of the wearable sweat sensor space with many of its most prescient and important advances to his credit.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustBlood based test using AI and nanotechnology devised for chronic fatigue syndromeA1c blood test found to be unreliable in diabetes diagnosesThe company uses Heikenfeld’s invention to time correlate the data derived from its sweat sensor devices, including data and algorithms that will define the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of medications that are excreted in locally stimulated sweat. “Non-invasive medication monitoring is a great example of the utility of Jason’s invention,” says Dr. Gavi Begtrup, CEO of Eccrine Systems. “You can’t devise an on-body device to derive a sweat pharmacokinetic curve, and then correlate that curve to a drug’s blood PK curve, without using this invention. This is a big deal given the estimated $500 billion dollar annual healthcare cost of non-optimized medication therapy, a significant portion of which can result from individual PK differences that cause failed treatment outcomes.”
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 18 2018Researchers who have undertaken the first systematic review of into the use of traditional, complementary and alternative medicines (TCAM) in Sub-Saharan Africa found its use is significant and not just because of a lack of resources or access to “conventional medicine”.Researchers from the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia conducted what they say is the first empirical study into TCAM in the region. The paper “Traditional, complementary and alternative medicine use in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review”, in the journal BMJ Global Health, looked at 180 studies on TCAM use in the region between 2006 and 2017.”Health departments and governments across the region must acknowledge that TCAM is here to stay and seek to understand the challenges and opportunities this presents for health care,” says University of Sierra Leone lecturer and UTS doctoral candidate Peter Bai James, who led the study.Their review found relatively high use of TCAM alone, or in combination with conventional medicine, in the general population and for specific health conditions such as pregnancy, cancer and malaria.TCAM use – especially TCAM products – was “significant”, the researchers found, with up to 94% of the population in Nigeria and Ethiopia and an average of just under 60% across the studies. The researchers acknowledged the available articles came from just four countries and were not always of the highest quality, highlighting the need for further public health research in this area.Biological-based therapies such as herbal therapy were the most common TCAM used in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by faith-based healing methods (prayer/spirituality) and mind-body therapies (massage, traditional bone setting, relaxation, meditation and yoga).”TCAM is used due to its perceived low cost, alignment … with sociocultural, religious and spiritual values, and dissatisfaction with conventional health-care,” the researchers say.Related StoriesNutritional supplements offer no protection against cardiovascular diseases, say researchersChaos in the house and asthma in children – the connectionAre physical examinations by family doctors still needed?Users in the general population were found to be more likely to be of low socioeconomic and educational status.Most users failed to disclose their use of these medicines to their health-care providers because they feared they would receive improper care as a result, because of health-care providers’ negative attitudes to TCAM, and because health-care providers didn’t inquire.The review indicated a relatively low prevalence of self-reported adverse effects compared with that reported outside Africa, but the researchers noted this might be related to the tendency not to disclose use.”TCAM product safety regulation across Africa is still a challenge as many countries … lack adequate regulatory framework to ensure the safety and quality of TCAM,” the paper says. “The systematic collection and analysis of TCAM safety data is crucial in order to protect patients and the public at large.”Leading author Peter Bai James of ARCCIM at UTS says discussions around TCAM use globally are often based on assumptions.”Assumptions about use in Sub-Saharan African have shaped lots of existing WHO and NGO policy,” he says, and among those assumptions is the belief that its use is because of poor access to “conventional medicine”.”But our research shows that even as conventional health services become more prevalent, TCAM use also increases,” he says.”TCAM is often an afterthought in health policy discussions in Sub-Saharan Africa and that should not be the case. Our research has highlighted the critical role TCAM continues to play in providing primary healthcare across the continent.”TCAM use in Sub-Saharan Africa is here to stay. Health departments and governments across the region must recognize this and conduct further research to understand the role of TCAM within their populations and consider the challenges and opportunities of TCAM within the wider health-care system.” Source:https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/complementary-and-integrative-medicine/news/traditional-and
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 8 2019A key element of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s mission is focused on helping to ensure that all products we regulate, including drugs available to consumers, are safe and of high quality. This means working to ensure greater accountability in our nation’s drug supply chain.As part of these efforts, today, the agency is launching a new pilot project in which participants representing the drug supply chain (e.g., manufacturers, repackagers and other stakeholders) can pilot the use of innovative and emerging approaches for enhanced tracing and verification of prescription drugs in the U.S. to ensure suspect and illegitimate products do not enter the supply chain. Eligible entities may apply to participate in the program. The pilot will inform the development of the enhanced electronic, interoperable track-and-trace system for industry set to go into effect in 2023 as part of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act. This new program will pilot technologies that may become part of our enhanced expectations for reliable track-and-trace systems. The new system will be aimed at reducing diversion of drugs distributed domestically and will help keep counterfeit drugs from entering the supply chain, and ultimately, reaching patients.”As part of our ongoing efforts to protect our nation’s drug supply, today, we’re giving industry an opportunity to test new technologies that can help spur greater accountability for participants in the supply chain and improve our ability to trace prescription drugs at every point in the distribution chain. Using new innovations, we believe we can improve the overall security of our closed system and improve our ability to prevent the introduction of illegitimate products, better detect the introduction of illegitimate products, and enable stakeholders and the FDA to respond more rapidly when such products are found,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “We recognize that tracking and tracing products is critical to industry’s ability to detect and remove potentially dangerous drugs from the drug supply chain. This pilot is one of many steps we’re taking to foster innovative ways to improve the security of the drug supply. We’re also focused on making improvements across the other products we regulate, especially related to food and our ability to address foodborne outbreaks. We’re invested in exploring new ways to improve traceability, in some cases using the same technologies that can enhance drug supply chain security, like the use of blockchain. To advance these efforts, the FDA recently recruited Frank Yiannas, an expert on the use of traceability technologies in global food supply chains. He’ll be working closely with me on ways for the FDA to facilitate the expansion of such methods, such as blockchain technology, to further strengthen the U.S. food supply. Under his leadership, we’ll continue to leverage all tools available to ensure greater accountability. For the drug track-and-trace system, our goals are to fully secure electronic product tracing, which provides a step-by-step account of where a drug product has been located and who has handled it; establish a more robust product verification to ensure that a drug product is legitimate and unaltered; and to make sure that any party involved in handling drugs in the supply chain must have the ability to spot and quarantine and investigate any suspect drug. We’re committed to staying at the forefront of new and emerging technologies and how they might be used to create safer, smarter and more trusted supply chains to better protect consumer safety and ensure the integrity of the high quality of products they deserve.”Related StoriesComputer-generated flu vaccine enters clinical trials in the USAI-enabled device detects if targeted chemotherapy is workingResearchers completely eliminate all traces of HIV from infected miceThe DSCSA pilot project program is intended to help identify and evaluate the most efficient processes to comply with and apply drug supply chain security requirements. The program will aid in identifying attributes the system will need for enhanced product tracing and verification, as well as electronic means to share the information. The FDA is committed to sharing new approaches considered through this program with the broader drug supply chain community on the agency’s website. Our goal is to ensure that all parties can be apprised of its progress and take advantage of any shared learning.The FDA has previously taken steps to advance the development and adoption of technologies that can help identify and properly trace prescription drugs as they move through the supply chain. For example, the FDA recently issued draft guidance on the use of product identifiers with a unique serial number to improve verification down to the package level. Additionally, the FDA has provided draft guidance for verification systems to quarantine and investigate suspect and illegitimate drugs. Enhanced verification and tracing in the supply chain can translate to a more rapid response by industry and the FDA when an illegitimate product is found.DSCSA was enacted by Congress on Nov. 27, 2013. It outlines steps to build an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed in the United States.The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.Source: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm630942.htm
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 2 2019Influenza remains a major public health risk, and Dr. Baozhong Wang, associate professor in Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, has received a five-year, $3.26 million federal grant to combat this threat by developing a universal vaccine that offers more protection against influenza than seasonal vaccines.Current seasonal flu vaccines are effective against closely matched influenza viruses in healthy adults, but they can’t prevent outbreaks of epidemics and pandemics. They lack this ability because influenza is a virus that can mutate frequently, and zoonotic (animal) strains can jump from one species to another into humans. Related StoriesHPV vaccine has led to a dramatic reduction in cervical cancer rates, but Africa is lagging behindNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedUM scientists receive $3.3 million NIH contract to develop opioid addiction vaccineThe funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will be used to develop a universal flu vaccine that induces broad cross-protection against influenza A and B viruses, which can cause epidemics in humans.Wang will construct a multivalent layered nanocluster vaccine, meaning the vaccine can act against multiple influenza virus strains and has layered protein nanoparticles. The vaccine formulation will be composed of newly designed conserved antigenic proteins (molecules that can stimulate an immune response) from both influenza A and B, making it a universal influenza vaccine.This project will test whether these layered nanoclusters or an optimal combination will induce broadly reactive immune responses and whether the immunity will grant cross-protection against both influenza A and B viruses in mice. The work will also test whether the leading multivalent nanocluster combinations will induce robust immune responses that provide cross-protection in ferrets.With a previous grant, Wang produced double-layered nanoparticle vaccines from an interior part of influenza A virus’ surface protein, called the hemagglutinin stalk, which is the same in all influenza viruses. The nanoparticles also contained the M2 protein, which is found on the surface of influenza A. Immunizations with the vaccine induced cross-protection against viruses from both groups of influenza A, including pandemic potential avian strains. Source:Georgia State University A novel approach to fighting the flu is needed because there are several disadvantages of seasonal flu vaccines, including the need to produce new vaccines every season, uncertainty in selecting virus strains and compromised vaccine efficacy when viruses are mismatched. Universal flu vaccines will overcome these challenges.”Dr. Baozhong Wang, associate professor in Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences
Apple will give users control over slowdown of older iPhones Apple is looking to change all that by bringing it all under one roof.Apple announced recently that in its iOS update coming in the spring, the Health app will streamline medical records from a dozen medical facilities across the United States. In the new Health Records feature, users will be able to see their records containing allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications and others in a single app. The app will also send notifications when the information is updated.”Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years—to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone,” said Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams. “By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.”Of the 12 facilities that have signed up, only one is available in the Bay Area: Dignity Health, a San Francisco-based health care provider that offers services in California, Nevada and Arizona.Other partnering facilities in California include Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and UC San Diego Health in San Diego.”We are thrilled to see Apple taking the lead in this space by enabling access for consumers to their medical information on their iPhones,” said Cedars-Sinai Chief Information Officer Darren Dworkin. “Apple is uniquely positioned to help scale adoption because they have both a secure and trusted platform and have adopted the latest industry open standards at a time when the industry is well positioned to respond.”Apple says the medical records inside the Health app will be encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcodes. Health Records was created based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), an industry-wide data standard for transferring medical records online, according to Apple.Apple will not see any users’ medical information unless users choose to share it with the company, according to the New York Times.Health Records is Apple’s latest foray into medical care. Apple has already launched ResearchKit, CareKit and HealthKit, separate software platforms that allow medical researchers and professionals to better build iOS apps that collect data and provide better information to its customers.In November, Apple teamed up with Stanford Medicine to conduct an Apple Watch study to collect heart rhythm data and potentially notify users who may have atrial fibrillation, a common cardiac disorder that makes the heart beat irregularly and have poor blood flow.In September, Apple was chosen with Samsung, Fitbit and other tech companies by the Food and Drug Administration for a trial program allowing the companies to skip certain regulations to expedite innovation. Explore further Citation: Apple iPhone users will be able to see their medical records on Health app (2018, January 31) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-apple-iphone-users-medical-health.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Credit: CC0 Public Domain Smartphone users checking medical records on their devices have been wading through a balkanized landscape of apps and websites for each health care provider or hospital.
The US Air Force will this summer begin testing a laser that will be mounted on an F-15 warplane, an official said Monday. © 2018 AFP Laser weapons edge toward use in US military Explore further Citation: US Air Force to begin fighter-mounted laser testing this summer (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-air-fighter-mounted-laser-summer.html The Pentagon last year awarded a $26 million contract to Lockheed Martin for a laser program called SHiELD (Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator.)The idea is to put a laser system on aircraft with an output of about 50 kilowatts to test their ability to zap drones or cruise missiles.”We have got tests starting this summer and the flight tests next summer,” Jeff Stanley, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology and engineering, told reporters.”There are still some technical challenges that we have to overcome, mainly size, weight, power.”Military laser beams are invisible to the naked eye.By focusing a beam on a target, the technology rapidly heats it up inside, causing it to crash or explode. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Biohacking is an open innovation and social movement that seeks to further enhance the ability of the human body. This includes humans trying to get cyborg like features, achieve hyper human senses, and also seek out new medicines and cures for disease via the promotion of self-experimentation. According to their website, Ascendence Biomedical are currently exploring HIV/AIDS and herpes elimination, and “muscular optimisation”. It sounds futuristic and appealing, but those critical of the approach say a major concern is that the methods of the biohacking community are housed outside of the relevant scientific processes – as governmental, academic, charitable and pharmaceutical institutions that operate with high safety standards for medical research are held to. This means that the biohacking pathway is anything but safe, as it is not regulated.Why biohack?Common reasons for biohacking drugs are that there are not enough cures, that drug prices are too high, and that participating in biohacking is taking a stand against the establishment – primarily Big Pharma. Although modern medicine has progressed rapidly in the last few decades we are still left without cures for many diseases especially chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis or certain cancers. It is natural that anyone suffering from such a disease would be desperate to rid their symptoms and be healthy. The average cost of getting a drug out of the lab and to patients is US$2.6 billion, and on average it takes around 12 years of research. The process is expensive and slow and it’s estimated that less than 1% of candidate drugs get approved. Explore further The research costs of these drugs are also passed onto the patients, meaning they can pay a high price for treatment. And with patent protection, steep prices and years of waiting for cures, it’s easy to see why people get frustrated and try to take this process into their own hands. Biohacking or “do it yourself” biology has been on the rise in recent years – it now even has various organised conferences. Following a recent VICE news documentary about a start-up company called Ascendance Biomedical – who are self-testing drugs – biohacking has had further exposure outside of its circle of devout followers. Credit: shutterstock Citation: The dangers of biohacking ‘experiments’– and how it could harm your health (2018, September 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-dangers-biohacking-health.html Thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips into themselves – here’s why This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Provided by The Conversation Why is it dangerous?In essence, trying to discover drugs through biohacking compromises on quality scientific research. The drugs usually skip key toxicity tests before being administered to patients and in doing so seriously jeopardises the safety of those involved. Without rigorous pre-clinical testing in the laboratory, it is very difficult to predict how that drug will fully interact with the complexity of the human body. Gene therapies pose another complexity, they aim to introduce new genetic material into our DNA, essentially rewriting our biological instructions. Edit the wrong part of DNA and you run the risk of seriously interfering with your body such as inducing a tumour. Watching those injecting themselves with unapproved gene therapies is unsettling. And there’s also the issue that conclusions drawn from such biohacking “experiments” are far from evidence-based medicine. The government cannot intervene if an individual chooses to self-experiment. And while it’s illegal for a company to market something as medicine if it hasn’t been approved, chemicals can still be sold as research compounds.How to carry out medical research?It is vital not to skimp on medical research. Multiple lab experiments are needed to discover the complex mechanisms of drugs and gene therapies to determine if they are safe for humans. Then human testing is best conducted through a series of clinical trials, where each aspect is tightly regulated to ensure scientific integrity and most importantly patients that are safeguarded. Such trials require an increasingly multidisciplinary team including medics, nurses, methodologists and statisticians to set up and conduct the trial. These trials can minimise bias – for example by using placebo controls. The right number of patients means enough data also allows for statistical validity and legitimate conclusions to be made. Currently this process can be long and expensive, but it produces quality data as to best answer the question of whether a drug or treatment will work. That said, trials are becoming more efficiently designed and programmes are in place in the UK and US to accelerate drug discovery. Each year the boundaries of medical knowledge are pushed. So things are getting better. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Citation: Daimler faces probe over ‘new cheating software’ (2019, April 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-daimler-probe-software.html Daimler faces mega fine in diesel probe Explore further © 2019 AFP Daimler confirmed Sunday it was facing a regulatory probe after a report said German authorities have uncovered a previously unknown type of pollution trickery software allegedly installed by the car giant in some of its vehicles. The software allegedly reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide during test conditions The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has initiated a formal hearing procedure, Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported.The Stuttgart-based carmaker confirmed the hearing procedure.”We fully cooperate with the Federal Motor Transport Authority and are reviewing the facts,” said Daimler in a statement.”In the course of the hearing proceedings, we will present our view to KBA.”According to the Bild report, around 60,000 vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz GLK 220 CDI models produced between 2012 and 2015 were affected.The software allegedly reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide during test conditions. On the road however, the affected vehicles were spewing out amounts of the harmful gas that were above regulatory limits.The KBA last year had already ordered Daimler to recall 700,000 vehicles worldwide, including 280,000 in Germany, over illegal software—a ruling the carmaker is appealing.Daimler is also potentially facing a big fine over the diesel scam as German prosecutors said in February they had opened a “fine procedure” against it.Diesel investigations have been running in Germany since 2015, when automobile giant Volkswagen admitted to building defeat devices into 11 million cars worldwide. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
fire Fire broke at the Beaumonde building in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. Photo: Paul Noronha – BusinessLine SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT SHARE June 13, 2018 Published on Mumbai The Beaumonde building houses actor Deepika Padukone’s residence A fire broke out in Beaumonde building here which also houses the residence and office of bollywood actress Deepika Padukone. No one was injured so far in the blaze that emanated from the top floor at around 2.08 pm, fire brigade sources said.Over 90 people have been safely evacuated from the building even as the fire department personnel were trying to douse the fire, the sources said. At least 10 fire engines, two quick response vans, five water tankers have been put in service to douse the fire.Padukone was not inside the 34-storey building in Prabhadevi area, according to fire department officials and sources close to the actress. Deepika has her residence in one floor and office in another but both were unaffected by the fire, said the sources close to her. COMMENTS